An Audience with H.H. the Dalai Lama

Here in Dharamshala everything is done spontaneously. I was at a meditation center and we were told that the Dalai Lama would give foreigners an audience in 3-days time. We were asked to go register at the security office down in Mc Leod Ganj in the next few days and then turn up at the Main Temple on Monday morning with no phones, cameras or anything that looked like a gun.

 When we got there it seemed that all the foreigners staying in Mc Leod, Bhagsu & Dharamkot were there for this rare chance. After getting in and finding a seat, we were separated into continents, than countries. Our country, Malta, which was represented only by my friend Emily and me, was joined up with some people from Greece and Spain. The Dalai Lama then went round every group for group photos.

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Lessons From Travelling – Patience and Trust

I’m halfway through an 8-hour trip, sitting in a bus station somewhere between Moni and Labuanbajo, on the island of Flores, Indonesia. A local guy who was with me in the van on the first part of the trip, who had took me to his house to meet his family and then helped me change money and find somewhere to eat after the first four hours of the trip, dropped me here and told me to wait for a mini-van to leave to Labuanbajo. As soon as I arrived someone took my backpack off my shoulders and put it in a van, to secure me as a customer.

At one point I saw the van leave. I thought whether my bag was safe, and went to ask a driver there. He told me “no problem”. They didn’t know any English there. Something inside me told me that it’s useless to panic, just sit and wait and it will probably be ok. And 5 minutes later the guy came back with the van. Seemed like he had gone to buy food or water. Soon after that, more locals arrived and as soon as the van filled up, we were off. I hoped they knew I wanted to get to Labuanbajo.

This was the first time I was travelling alone in an Asian country, and one of my lessons in patience and trust that travelling has been teaching me. I had to be patient while the van left, not really sure what time I’ll leave or get to where I wanted to go. I had to trust people I didn’t know, I wasn’t sure they new where I wanted to go and many other doubts going through my head.

Back home everything is under our control. We know how long it takes us to get somewhere, who to trust, how to complain if we’re not served well, and so on. When we are travelling, especially in non-western countries where things are done differently, without trust and patience we won’t last, we won’t enjoy the experience.

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The Link – A conversation on stress reduction, good nutrition; all while eating organic food in Pai.

I continue to cultivate my belief that life takes me where I need to go, introduces me to the right people and teaches me the right lessons, only if I trust the process (see my article “How Travelling Helps Me to Let Go”).

This morning I went out for a ride on my bicycle, and after a few hours it was time to eat. On my second day here I had stopped to take a look at the menu of a restaurant that had caught my attention earlier. It was a simple restaurant with nothing fancy to pull me in. I had to meet some friends somewhere else that day so I couldn’t eat there, but seeing “Cashew Nut Cream” and “Sesame Seed Cream” on the dessert menu had me promise myself I will go back there. I tried after dinner but it was closed. Ah well, would have to be another time.

I then stopped another time and chatted with Ling, the owner, while just having the Cashew Nut Cream (which was really tasty). She was having dinner with her friend, which they let me taste. There was some kind if spicy tomato paste which looked like our Mediterranean bruschetta mix (but warm), raw fresh vegetables, which I found out are organic from her garden, and a good sweet and sour vegetable stir fry, and also some other things which I’m not sure what they where (and had meat in them). But all local and all good! She told me to come another day in the afternoon because on evenings she only opens if she has bookings or if she feels like it, if she feels like it!!

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Another Way to Cultivate Belief

Today I got asked by a friend in Bangkok, “how did you get to do this?’, that is, decide to leave home and travel for a year. After a month in my trip I’m no expert on travelling long term. But it got me thinking: how do I get to doing the things I’m doing, and what keeps me from doing other things I want to do.

Well in my experience it comes down mostly to belief, faith that it will happen. I have mostly only manifested things that I really started believing will happen, living them before they start happening. But how do I let that faith grow, how do I change a belief? The first time I thought of travelling for longer than a month I was in India, for a month, and I thought, one day, I want to do this for at least 3 or 6 months, possibly even going solo. So a year later I was planning to travel to Indonesia with my then girlfriend for a month, and when she couldn’t make it I started looking for someone else to join me. But it had to be someone I could get along with. Travelling with someone can be a heavy if you’re not into the same stuff, even if you wake up at different times, anything can bug you!

Then it dawned on me: I can do this on my own. I already have a hard time deciding stuff on my own, fighting in my own head, let alone with somebody else. A friend of mine had done a short solo trip and that gave me hope. Then I got on the Internet and looked up solo travelling, cause I didn’t know much solo travellers from my country (yet). There I found out it’s a very common thing, many people do it, and all of them love it. And I did too! For all the usual reasons: getting to meet more people, doing what I wanted, changing plans in the last minute without consulting anyone, and so on.

What I’m getting at is that for me the easiest way to change a belief is to get in touch with people who already did what I want to do, be it local or on the many forums on the net. Read blogs about it, research it, talk about it. Then the faith will grow. I start believing that it’s a possible thing to do and I can do it too.

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